Thursday, 31 January 2013

London, baby!

Hi everyone :) A big hello to any of my regulars, plus anyone popping by from Finish It Up Friday, TGIFF or the Small Blog Meet - wow, that's a lot of link-ups for one post!

Anyway, today I'm going to show you 'London, baby!', a table-topper I made for my mum. Back at the start of 2012 my LQS was preparing for the jubilee with a Great Britain-themed window display. One of the fabrics was the map print in Cool Brittania, which I thought was a fun idea but then thought nothing more of it. Until a sudden thought popped into my mind - I wonder if Primrose Hill is on there? You see, my mum loves London and she and my dad got engaged on Primrose Hill. Much searching of the internet yielded no conclusive results but I eventually managed to get back to the shop and found that yep, it was there!

So, I knew I would be making something for my mum! Problem was, what to make. After a bit of umming and ahhing I settled on a mini quilt, to be used as a table topper. Picking out fabrics to go with the London ones was good fun. I only realised afterwards that I had been subconsciously replicating the colour scheme of the Bliss fabric line. Woops!

Fabrics chosen, I made plans for the pattern. I had been drooling over Ashley's string quilt for quite some time, so strings it was:

When I came to actually use the map fabric I encountered a problem. Obviously the fabric had to have repeats and joins where the real London doesn't match up. Unfortunately I don't know London at all, so didn't have a clue where they were! Cue a lot of time poring over Google maps and trying to work out how to cut pieces big enough for the pattern without any geographical issues. It took a while, and I made a few mistakes along the way, but I got there!

Taking the paper off the back of the blocks was not fun. I wonder if the tracing paper I used was a bit too strong? Next time I'll try baking paper. Since the seams were not impressed with my tugging while getting the paper off, I decided to use fusible wadding to stabilise them, instead of normal batting. Should help it last!

Check out the pink carpets in our new flat!

Piecing done, I ironed the top and back onto the fusible wadding. And yes, that is a cupboard door I'm using as an ironing board. The flat was still a little chaotic, and it was the right size!

Some simple straight-line quilting around the squares and a little embroidered heart finished this project off nicely.

My first use of perl cotton! Loving it so far.

The backing. Love this print! Check out the gerkin :)

So despite the craziness of a house move, getting ready for Christmas and, of course, holding down a full-time job, this quilt was finished in time for mum's birthday. And here it is in its new home!

That's all for now! See you soon :)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Christmas in January

Hi everyone :) This new year I've started an exciting new project - I'm making my first quilt to keep! We haven't decided on colours/decor for our new flat yet, so I'm making one that will go with anything - a Christmas quilt.

My grandparents very kindly got me a couple of Flurry charm packs for my birthday - I love that line, and most of Kate Spain's designs. I particularly love this quilt. Isn't it gorgeous? Anyway, I'm going to be making a Charming Stars quilt. At 1.7ish metres square this'll be the biggest quilt I'll have made by a long way. Already rather scared about trying to baste and quilt it, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The pattern needs 3 charm packs and I only have 2 so I've been picking out fabrics to go with them. It's gone really well - 2 new fabrics my inlaws gave me for Christmas, 2 solids I already had and one fabric I'd been eyeing up which was on sale:

Pearl bracelets - swoon!

I just need to pick up a green solid and I'll be good to go :)

The first step in making this quilt is to cut out 128 2 7/8"white squares - yikes. So far I've cut out 45 which actually didn't take too long! Looking forward to sorting out the layout and getting sewing soon.

Ooh and something else to show you. Do you remember my 'photography studio' in my old flat:

Well, my new flat has a perfect ready-made lightbox! Very handy.

I'll be linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday when it comes around :)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Obi and Eli

Hi everyone! It's about time I showed you the finished quilts I made for my friends' twins Obadiah and Elijah. For those of you popping over from Finish It Up Friday or TGIFF (hi!) who haven't seen these quilts before, a group of friends joined me to make lots of little embroidered squares which I then turned into quilts :)

In my last post I told you about my nightmare quilting episodes. Thankfully after that, things were pretty straight forward. The only issue was timing - due to my imminent house move, I had to do all the hand-sewing on one of the quilts in one day! I know, I know, some people make an entire baby quilt in a weekend, but for me, 4 metres of hand-sewing in a day was an achievement.

So, here we go, finished pics :)

 The two quilts!

And the backs :)

 This one for Obi...

... and this one for Eli! Taken before the epic hand-sewing session

With my friends and I having spent so long on the embroideries, I hope you'll let me induldge in a few close-ups :)
Mum is musical, so this one's quite appropriate :)

Cute elephant by my friend Katie, and I loved sewing the rainbow!

Rocket and dinosaur, by Faye and Jenny, two of my faves :)

Edmund, Fab, pencil and bean

And an explosion, cos boys like those, right?

These quilts were lots of fun to make, and it was really great to get some friends involved! Now I just need to convince them that they want to learn to baste so I can give up on that part...

Anyway, happy Friday everyone!

All wrapped up and ready to give :)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Straight lines are overrated

Hi everyone! Happy new year! I was lame this year and went to bed way before 12, but the new year seemed to turn up anyway :)

Anyway, let's head back to last year as I still need to show you the quilts I was making for my friends' new twin boys. Last time I showed you one of the completed quilt tops:

Well, next up was the backing. I splashed out a little and picked up a whole 2 metres of the gorgeous blue dragonfly fabric. It's so pretty! I may have wrapped myself up in it when I got it home and pretended it was a dress. May have.

Anyone who reads this blog won't be surprised at what came next - appliqué! The twins are named Obadiah and Elijah, which thankfully they shorten to Obi and Eli - much more achievable!

Next up - quilting. And boy, did this not go well! The main reasons were poor basting (despite my best efforts, sob!), trying too many new things at once (stitch-in-the-ditch quilting, and using different colour threads on the top and the bottom) and my walking foot not yet being useable. All this resulted in failed attempts to stay in the ditch, bunched up backing, and, most upsettingly, the straight lines of the quilt being dragged along by my normal machine foot until they were approximately a bazillion miles from being straight. Add to this that I accidentally cut a hole in one of the quilt blocks, and I was seriously wondering whether I should give up quilting. Gah!

 The hole :(

But somehow I persevered. I emailed Moira for advice and replaced the holey block. I rebasted with help from the hubby. I redid a couple of lines where my stitches definitely weren't in the ditch. I fixed the worst straight-line-which-would-make-a-ruler-cry, and took lots of deep breaths and decided no-one would notice the other ones.

And so, the quilting was done. Phew.

Next up - binding. But I'll leave it that for another time. Hope you're all enjoying the new year!

I'll be linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday when it comes around :)